2020/11/18 – Smokey – Water Under the Bridge Continued [HHC N+1 of M]

I just took that previous post, collected the HHC posts and built an HhcIndex post (out of an older intro post) and added it to the Index Posts post then, having posted and updated all of that, I posted it to twitter.

While I was there I saw a “like” notification of one of my tweets from a few days ago about a topic that keeps coming up and it struck me all over again.

These platforms are so fucking ephemeral that we’re losing our minds trying to keep track of things.

When I tell people I’m a heavy twitter user they almost always have the same question: “How do you keep track of conversations?”

And the response is a simple one: “The same way you walk in to a bar and keep track of what’s going on there. You don’t. You don’t walk into a bar and say ‘everybody hold up. Can we replay the last couple hours?'” People’d think you were insane. You catch what you can, jump in where you can and keep it going from there.

It’s everywhere. All of the short attention span social media platforms, instagram, facebook, snapchat, twitter, telegram, slack, discord, etc. They all suffer from this horrid design deficiency.

Even newsletters just kinda…drift off in to the past, rather than build on a body of work. And yeah yeah “you COULD go back and archive them” yadda yadda, fuck the bisque.

There are a lot of people out there who have something fascinating to say, and have said it. But if you missed it…oh well, it’s gone in all practical ways.

27 years later, we’ve missed the point of hypermedia, using it to build fucking apps and other assorted horseshit.

Jordan Peterson makes a fascinating point about The Bible being the first hyperlinked document, what with its massive amount of cross-referencing. Somewhere he posted, or displayed in a lecture of his, a diagram of the interrelationships and cross-referencing in the bible and it’s absolutely startling. As a body of knowledge it’s really quite singular.

What if what we were able to bring together the things we post online into a cohesive whole, treating these forums less like an ongoing casual conversation and more like a single crafted…thing?

I know that’s not going to appeal to everyone or perhaps even to a lot of people. But it sure as fuck appeals to me. If I could easily harness the interrelated nature of my accumulated thoughts over time I’d sure as fuck get an awful lot better at thinking itself. I’d refine my ideas, my ideals, and the ways I expressed them. It would take me places and I daresay it would be interesting to at least some other people as well.

There’s something here and maybe it starts with a simple software project like the blog/wiki hybrid. It’s tough to see where something like this would really GO. But I’ve got the sense that taking the steps to get there is fundamentally required in order to actually see around the next bend. Then, a few iterations past, perhaps there would be sufficient data to plot an actual trajectory and extrapolate a bit.

After all, the tech required to do this is utterly trivial.

If I built it, would people use it? Who the fuck knows. I certainly would. Hell I’ve got pieces of this kind of thing all over my servers. A common format, some creative conventions and managing the impedence mismatch between a couple/few different platforms would be all it would take to have the full body of functionality together.

I’d have to let go of the idea of the static post in favor of “evolving documents.” But I don’t have much of an issue with that. SOME documents should be “living.”

The document of someone’s life especially so.

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